« Co. Kildare Online Electronic History Journal Home »


Leinster Leader 11/9/2008
September is the month of golden cornfields and acres of ripe oats so it is not surprising that an issue of the Leinster Leader of September 1958 featured an exciting development in the grain processing industry in north Kildare. The article centred on the expansion being undertaken by Messrs. Farrington Bros. at their grain drying plant at Rathcoffey between Clane and Maynooth.
The report introduces the Farrington brothers and their impressive credentials in the science of grain growing. Mr. Tom Farrington, founder of the firm, is described as a well-known Kildare agriculturalist who has farmed extensively near Kilcock; he is a member of the County Kildare Committee of Agriculture and has been actively associated with Macra na Feirme since its establishment. He had travelled abroad getting an insight of the farming methods in the countries which he had visited.
 His brother, John Farrington, who had recently joined the firm was also a member of Macra and resided at Long House, Ballymore Eustace, the family home. He had lived and worked in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the USA. Another brother Michael was at the time working on a farm in southern Germany gaining experience; he is studying in the Albert Agricultural College, Dublin.
 At that time in September 1958 the Farringtons had a large construction scheme approaching completion at the Rathcoffey site. A 30 ton weighbridge had been installed at a cost of over two thousand pounds at the gate to the plant. This weighbridge could handle the biggest trucks on the road at the time and was predicted to be a great asset in speeding up deliveries of grain. The storage accommodation had been increased by 48,000 cubic feet, doubling the previous storage space. The new dryer supplied by Messrs. Semax of Cork trebles the existing capacity of Rathcoffey Grain Stores.
 It is of some interest to agriculturalists that Messrs. Farrington have 200 acres under wheat, the grain being specially imported to be used as seed grain when harvested. The crop which adjoined the Naas-Kilcock road a few miles from Kilcock was considered outstanding especially given the bad weather n the summer of 1958. The Farringtons had drawn on continental expertise to perfect their seed quality. Mr. Hans Knudsen, a graduate of the University of Copenhagen, assisted in the grading of the seed. 
 And the Farringtons were keen to share their knowledge of the latest developments in seed quality. It was reported that Mr. Farrington had generously given an acre to the Kildare County Committee of Agriculture which was known as the ‘museum plot’. In it the various types of grasses were shown in different stages of growth and the plot, situated beside the grocery and licensed premises which Farringtons owned at Rathcoffey, was said to be a great attraction for sightseers from all parts of the country.
 The Farringtons’ investment at Rathcoffey represented a decided modernisation of grain processing operations – the old days of sacks loaded on horse-and-carts were to be replaced by the more efficient methods. In the old days each sack had to be weighed separately—a slow, laborious process indeed with the liability of a proneness to mistakes. Now the lorry is weighed in loaded and weighed in empty, the true weight of the grain being thus ascertained without any great trouble.
 The firm was described as being well equipped to handle seed cleaning and the grading of seed, and the machinery includes a special plant which grades seed by size and weight; the seed was intended to be retailed for the following season’s sowing.
 Messrs. Farrington are confident that with the measures they have taken they can offer to growers a better grade seed at a lower price. Efficiency was the key word at Rathcoffey and although the season of 1958 was described as being ‘ one of the most disastrous on record’ Messrs. Farrington had complete reliance on the future advancement and prosperity of Irish Agriculture. 
 The plant modernised by the Farrington brothers in 1958 continues to be a prominent feature of the landscape in north Kildare and, as with the ESB and Bord na Mona plants of the 1950s on the Bog of Allen, represented the application of new technology to old methods.
 Series No. 84

Liam Kenny in his regular feature 'Nothing New Under The Sun' describes how the Farrington brothers introduced  new developments in the grain processing industry in Kildare in 1958. 

Powered by
Movable Type 3.2